Yes, I know I mentioned earlier this week that I’m on hiatus, but I still wanted to keep my promise I’d made to participate in the blog tour for “Other Breakable Things,” a moving YA novel by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood.
“Other Breakable Things” by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood
290 pages (Kindle Edition), Entangled Teen
Published April 4, 2017
Enter to win:
Other Breakable Things Prize Pack: Signed copy of Modern Monsters by Kelley York and an origami crane kit (US)
eBook of Modern Monsters by Kelley York + a $25 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
According to Japanese legend, folding a thousand paper cranes will grant you healing.
Evelyn Abel will fold two thousand if it will bring Luc back to her.
Luc Argent has always been intimately acquainted with death. After a car crash got him a second chance at life—via someone else’s transplanted heart—he tried to embrace it. He truly did. But he always knew death could be right around the corner again.
And now it is.
Sick of hospitals and tired of transplants, Luc is ready to let his failing heart give out, ready to give up. A road trip to Oregon—where death with dignity is legal—is his answer. But along for the ride is his best friend, Evelyn.
And she’s not giving up so easily.
A thousand miles, a handful of roadside attractions, and one life-altering kiss later, Evelyn’s fallen, and Luc’s heart is full. But is it enough to save him? Evelyn’s betting her heart, her life, that it can be.
Right down to the thousandth paper crane.
Nineteen-year-old Luc Argent thought he had a second chance at life when he got a heart transplant. But this one is letting him down, too. His family and his doctors want him to hold on for another transplant, but Luc is fed up with hospitals, medications and being sick all the time. He’s seriously considering ending his life in Oregon, where the Death with Dignity Act makes assisted suicide legal.
Meanwhile, his best friend Evelyn Abel is back from Arizona after three years. Evelyn’s mom has just gotten out of yet another failed relationship, so they’re again living with Evelyn’s grandmother in California. Evelyn is anxious to see Luc again, yet she’s not too happy with him because he stopped replying to her emails and never called or texted even though she gave him her number. Luc still cares about Evelyn, but his illness has made it difficult for him to get out of his own head. Evelyn has always known Luc is in poor health, but he’s never told her about his heart.
When Evelyn’s mom announces she’s patched things up with her previous boyfriend and it’s time to go back to Arizona, Evelyn is devastated. There’s more than one reason she doesn’t want to return. On the verge of turning 18, Evelyn goes to Luc for help. And in a spur-of-the-moment decision, Luc decides to take her with him to Oregon. But how long can he hide the real reason for their road trip?
Along the way, Luc is torn between wanting to die and longing to stick around for as long as he can. His feelings for Evelyn, and his promise to protect her, are making it really difficult for him to just end it all …
I loved this book so much more than I thought I would. It started out awfully slow, but once the road trip began, I was fascinated by Evelyn and Luc’s journey and how much they learn about each other — and from each other. It’s told from their alternating points of view, which flow really nicely as the story unfolds.
It’s also interesting to see the dynamics between the main characters and their families. Luc’s parents live for their son and want nothing more than for him to come home and get medical help, yet they learned long ago to give him his space. Poor Evelyn is always playing second fiddle to whoever her mom is dating.
The one element of the story that was hard to believe is that Evelyn is still 17 when she runs away, and no one seems to be looking for her. Granted, she’s finishing high school through online courses and continues her schoolwork while on the road, but she’s underage and traveling with a 19-year-old. I suppose that’s a minor technicality, especially considering her mom is pretty hands off and self-involved.
Luc takes some pretty drastic steps to prepare for taking his own life, and yet having Evelyn beside him, seeing amazing sights and deepening his friendship with her along the way, is giving him second thoughts. For a while, she doesn’t realize why Luc wanted to take this trip, and she’s anxious to know where they’re going next. At one point, Luc delivers a piece of universal advice:
“Stop jumping ahead. Enjoy what we’ve got here and now.”
I (Evelyn) get into the car with a thoughtful frown.
“Here and now is a three-hour drive.”
He starts the car and gives me a long look whose meaning I can’t place. “Enjoy it. Sometimes, it’s all you have.”
The turn of events, as highly improbable as they may be, took my breath away. I don’t normally cry over books, but I found myself wanting to shed some tears as I read “Other Breakable Things.” Even just one single tear would have been appropriate, but nothing. No matter, I was crying on the inside as the book wrapped up. With the prologue foreshadowing a possible conclusion, I was sure I knew what was going to happen, but the authors managed to surprise me.
This is only the second YA book I’ve read as an adult (I’m very picky about that genre), and I feel like the message of “Other Breakable Things” will resonate with any age group. It’s all about making the most of the days we’ve been given. We’re all destined to leave this earth at some point, and we never know when our time might come. With that in mind, we should never pass up an opportunity to explore, to fall in love, to take a risk.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
About the authors
Kelley York and Rowan Altwood are a wife and wife writing team living in central California with their daughter and way too many cats. Kelley is the author of Hushed, Made of Stars, and Modern Monsters, and Other Breakable Things is Rowan’s debut.